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October 13, 2011 News 10 Comments

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10-13-2011 10-53-42 PM

Forbes lists the 25 highest paid corporate CEOs in the Unites States. Leading them all: McKesson’s John Hammergren, with single-year compensation of $131.2 million. Forbes helpfully points out that “ObamaCare could end up helping three of the top-10 improve their lot in years to come … Hammergren won’t have to worry about waiting in line to see a doctor.”

Reader Comments

mrh_small From MoreOutTheDoor: “Re: Dell Services. Two more Perot vets gone from the healthcare group, Jack Evans in the summer and now Dave Marchand. Both had significant leadership roles and were well respected.” Unverified.

mrh_small From Lead Pipe: “Re: article comment. I commented on an article with a link to my company. It did not appear.” I delete comments that (a) pitch a product or company (that’s not fair to paying sponsors or to readers), or (b) pitch an site or publication that accepts advertising (that means they compete with HIStalk, which is fine, but it’s not my job to promote them.) Sometimes if the comment has value, I’ll just remove the pitch part.

10-13-2011 10-50-59 PM

mrh_small From CMIO/CIO: “Re: Cerner Health Conference. As a 13-year veteran, neither I or my associates attend for the breakfast, unlike FastChange. This has been one of the best CHCs with leading edge differentiators coming to general availability like NLP (nCode) and semantic search. Great networking with not only US clients, but ever-increasing global client base.”

inga_small From Shippy: “Re: Cerner conference. Although the comments by FastChange are not incorrect, they could be counterbalanced with the fact that Cerner at least has a vision and passion in the right direction Also, half the problems that Cerner clients are having are not a result of Cerner and its products, but with IT management teams  that understaff projects and still don’t really understand what doctors do.”

10-13-2011 8-35-28 PM

mrh_small From North Dallas Forty: "Re: Nemours. Sent a letter to employees this week stating that computer backup tapes from 2004 were taken from a locked storage cabinet. The tapes include personal information that includes bank account information. I wonder if anyone has been reprimanded?” Verified. Like most organizations that have been breached, Nemours is belatedly passionate about security practices, publicly vowing to start encrypting backups and to store tapes securely offsite.

10-13-2011 10-52-47 PM

mrh_small From Lindy: “Re: University of Virginia Medical Center. CIO left a few weeks back after a semi-successful Epic install. Docs were starting to complain.” Unverified.

mrh_small From Confused Friend: “Re: Epic. A friend works for an Epic customer and wants to get into consulting, but was told by the company she talked to that they have a 90-day non-compete for customers who are currently installing. She insinuated this was being pushed by Epic. Odd given that the customer went live more than a year ago on her particular product. I’m a former Epic employee and that’s the first I’ve heard of this. Is Epic instituting new policies for consulting firms?” I’ve long since stopped trying to make sense  of Epic’s non-compete policy, so I’ll open it up to anyone who knows its latest flavor.

mrh_small From Hospital Geek: “Re: [health system name omitted.] We started an ambulatory rollout of Epic about six months ago that would have covered 600 physicians. The project was cancelled a couple of weeks ago.” I omitted the health system’s name because, frankly, I don’t think this is true. If it is, send over some non-anonymous proof and I’ll be happy to name names.

mrh_small From Too Big to Fire: “Re: Microsoft. Elite developers from an EHR vendor have received 80%+ discounts at the fabled Company Store when visiting Microsoft’s campus. Customers are now required to purchase more Microsoft products. A vendor that allows this practice should disclose those discounts to customers.” I don’t understand what it is that customers are being required to purchase or what the vendor would disclose, so I don’t really have a reaction.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: athenahealth and Cook Children’s Health Care introduce technology to integrate 2D vaccine barcode data with athenaclinicals. Seventy percent of hospitals and health systems plan will hire more physicians over the next 12-18 months. Phytel wins a contract with Lehigh Valley Health Network’s physician group. eClinicalWorks takes the top stop on the Worcester Business Journal’s list of top-growing private regional companies. Jonathan Bush goes to DC and shares his thoughts on the flaws of EMR attestation. And coming up next week: HIStalk’s Must-See Vendors for MGMA 2011 since I’m heading to Vegas in about 10 days and will be sharing updates on speakers, educational sessions, exhibits, parties, and of course, fashion. Sign up for e-mail updates so you don’t miss a thing.

mrh_small I’m back from a short, Internet-free vacation in which I interacted with Mrs. HIStalk rather than e-mail. I was apparently one of few: it seemed that many folks around us were too focused on their smart phones to actually look up at either the person they were with or the rather picturesque surroundings. We sat adjacent to a young couple in a restaurant as the male half of the couple endlessly flicked his phone (while eating — he obviously required multi-modal sustenance) to see if any of his fake friends had posted something on Facebook to which he needed to be made immediately aware, while his real-life female partner sat completely ignored (I tried not to draw inferences about how he might correspondingly conduct his romantic overtures.) Maybe I should have followed his model — I’m hopelessly behind on e-mail and general HIStalk tasks to the point I should have just stayed home, not to mention trying to catch up on my hospital job.

mrh_small I’ve observed, too, that with everybody running around with smart phones and poking at them constantly as though they suffer from an involuntary nervous tic, everybody expects e-mail conversations to be conducted like instant messaging. If you don’t reply quickly (because you’ve turned the darned device off, it’s late at night or into the weekend, or you just don’t have the time, like my trying to prioritize 300 or so e-mails), they send the message again. Not only are people going to die having spent most of their waking hours staring at their phones as though they were crystal balls emitting the secrets of the universe, they won’t even realize they are dearly departed until someone posts a Facebook update.

mrh_small Inga ran things just fine in my absence, I notice with satisfaction. I get swamped pretty easily since I’m the single point for almost everything (I obviously don’t scale well,) but Inga jumps in where she can on the rare occasions I reluctantly cede temporary control. As for me, I’m already overwhelmed and exhausted anew.

mrh_small Speaking of BlackBerry, I’m struggling to decide: which company is going to die first of executive incompetence, RIM or Netflix?

mrh_small Listening: Kingdom Come, a 90s hair band that sounded a whole lot like early Led Zeppelin, which as good as they occasionally were, led (no pun intended) them to be considered a Zep ripoff (“Kingdom Clone,” the wags called them.) I remembered them only because I read a fascinating biography of long-dead Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant while on vacation (I found it by the pool towel hut) and he said Kingdom Come was terrible. I never was a Zeppelin fan, so Kingdom Come sounds fine to me.

mrh_small On the sponsor-only Jobs BoardHL7 Interface Developer, RVP Sales – Western Territory, Front End Engineer, Physician Consultant – Sales Support. On Healthcare IT JobsManager of Clinical Information Systems, Solutions Sales Executive, Pharmacy Informatics Analyst, Epic Ambulatory Lead Trainer and Trainer.

10-13-2011 8-04-01 PM

Thanks to World Wide Technology, Inc., supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor. The St. Louis-based systems integrator, which has been around since 1990 and has $3.3 billion in annual revenue, offers healthcare-specific services that include patient identification, temperature and humidity monitoring, privacy and security, point-of-care communication and collaboration, IT infrastructure, staff and asset visibility, and services specifically for Cisco TelePresence (they sell a billion dollars’ worth of Cisco products each year.) I notice that the company was named on Thursday to the InformationWeek 500 for the first time, so that’s a pretty big deal. WWT has sales offices around the world and engineers in most US cities, making them easy to find. Thanks to World Wide Technology for supporting HIStalk. I’m a bit in awe when a company that size (or any size, for that matter) steps forward to help me with what I do, as offbeat as that sometimes is.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

inga_small Infosys says it is not in discussions for the acquisition of the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters despite earlier media reports (including a mention in HIStalk.) That could mean that those reports were incorrect, but also potentially only premature.

10-13-2011 10-37-59 PM

Mobile developer Remedy Systems and physician marketer Physicians Interactive form Tomorrow Networks, a healthcare-only mobile advertising network for app developers that can “tie advertisements to healthcare data points that include ICD-9 codes, CPT codes, and healthcare professional (HCP) specific information.”


Orlando Health chooses Brainware for document processing.


10-13-2011 12-51-20 PM

Debbie Ruggles, RN, is named clinical informatics manager of Providence Medical Center and Saint John Hospital (KS), tasked with overseeing the hospitals’ implementation of Epic.

10-13-2011 2-12-13 PM

LodgeNet Healthcare hires Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, as senior medical advisor. He was previously Don Berwick’s senior advisor at CMS and a special assistant to former ONC head David Blumenthal.

10-13-2011 7-59-32 PM

mrh_small VistA guru Tom Munnecke decides to un-retire and get back into health informatics consulting. An interesting new post from his blog: he wrote a book called The Friendly Computer in 1980 that gave Commodore’s president the idea to call their computer the Amiga, and more impressively, pitched the idea of the “Intelligent Telephone” in 1977 – to none other than Steve Jobs.

Announcements and Implementations

10-13-2011 12-36-25 PM

Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi implements White Plume Technology’s AccelaSMART charge capture and medical coding review technology to pass charges between its GE Centricity EHR and athenahealth practice management system.

Ohio State University Medical Center announces plans to double its telestroke technology capabilities using technology from REACH Health.

Thomson Reuters releases Infection Xpert, a clinical intelligence dashboard to improve infection prevention workflow.

Shareable Ink earns 2011/2012 EHR Modular ONC/ATCB Certification. Said Founder, President, and CEO Steve Hau, “It’s the first time you can get Meaningful Use with pen and paper.”

Barnes-Jewish Hospital (MO) launches a mobile app to reduce appointment no-shows.

Premier partners with Encore Health Resources to create an HIT implementation roadmap for organizations moving toward an ACO-type model of integrated, coordinated care. It will be based on Encore’s CoreQUEST and CoreGPS tools.

Government and Politics

10-13-2011 11-48-18 AM

inga_small The Center for Public Integrity, through its iWatch News publication, tries to stir up some HITECH controversy in its report on EHR stimulus payments. The authors question why long-term EHR users are getting incentive checks if the the goal was new adoption. A representative for Senator (and obstetrician) Tom Coburn is quoted:

If providers have been paid for systems they already had in place, that seems to be an inexcusable waste of taxpayer dollars. It makes no sense for HHS to pay physicians for systems they already have.

inga_small I have to side with HIStalk contributor Dr. Lyle Berkowitz who, in the same article, points out that achieving Meaningful Use is not a slam dunk, and paying providers for “doing the right thing before there were even rewards to do so is actually not a bad message to send.”

mrh_small Senator Chuck Grassley wants to know who authorized the shutdown of HHS’s National Practitioner Data Bank, established in 1986 to confidentially track physician malpractice and disciplinary cases. The reason: a Kansas City reporter was able to identify a Kansas neurosurgeon even though the publicly accessible data was supposed to be de-identified. HHS says the information wasn’t intended for the public to see in the first place, but says they’ll still put it back online “as soon as possible.” Two facts stand out: (a) there’s no such thing as truly “de-identified” information, assuming someone has the resources and motivation to match up multiple public data sources; and (b) Chuck Grassley writes a lot of indignant and demanding letters that never seem to amount to anything except get him mentioned in the press (no offense, Chuck, I’m a big fan, but follow-through is everything.)

10-13-2011 10-41-14 PM

The VA is testing an iPad-based portal to its electronic medical records called the iHealth adaptor.


10-13-2011 5-15-03 PM

Cerner announces its Skybox on-demand storage service offering, an enterprise-wide cloud storage system powered by Nirvanix Private Cloud Storage that allows customers to consolidate their storage of clinically related data objects under a usage-based pricing model.


10-13-2011 10-29-54 AM

inga_small From KLAS: since Virtual Radiologic’s purchase of telaradiology provider NightHawk last year, NightHawk customers are reporting challenges with turnaround times and the transition to vRad’s technology and up to half of those customers are seeking alternatives. vRad’s performance scores have also slipped.

inga_small Meanwhile, KLAS provides a less-than-glowing report on Meditech’s v6 in unusually blunt terms, saying Meditech’s products are generally less functional but cheaper than those of competitors, and even though 6.0 is “half-baked and more expensive,” it’s still cheaper than those competing products and therefore “worth the pain to make it work for them.” KLAS concludes that customer satisfaction depends on their expectations.

mrh_small Here’s Vince’s latest HIStory, this time covering JS/Data in the first of a two-parter. He’s finding that veterans of these long-gone companies still speak fondly and happily about their experiences and the people they knew there. Sometimes I wonder if it will be the same positive feelings down the line for today’s rookies, for whom HIT was already a big business by the time they came on board.

HIT service provider Anthelio will hire 200 people in Michigan, mostly medical insurance billers and coders. The company is building a 50,000 square foot Center of Excellence in between Detroit and Flint.

Dennis Ritchie, who created the C programming language and co-developed UNIX, died Wednesday at 70 of prostate cancer.

10-13-2011 3-31-51 PM

Shareable Ink CEO Steve Hau tells a group of Nashville executives that he is not yet convinced the region offers a critical mass of superior engineering talent. He moved from Boston to Nashville last year to capitalize on Nashville’s healthcare industry concentration.

mrh_small Healthcare Growth Partners releases its Q3 merger and acquisition review. Trends they’ve spotted: non-traditional vendors are entering the market, ACO activity is motivating investment in systems such as analytics, hospital best-of-breed solutions are struggling against enterprise vendors, and vendors are seeking growth financing rather than selling out.

mrh_small Somebody just posted this video tour of the famous Epic treehouse.

10-13-2011 10-20-10 PM

mrh_small Epic is awarded a patent for GUI method called a “dynamic order composer” of entering patient orders using a pre-populated order entry form. It sounds like it suggests orders based on patient information and popularity.

mrh_small Doctors in China are striking over being physically attacked by the family members of patients. One orthopedist says doctors are a disadvantaged group since “we have spent so much of our youth on a medical degree that yields so little economic reward.” Ninety-six percent of doctors there say they are unhappy with their salaries, which average just 19% higher than those of factory workers.

mrh_small An employee of a Baltimore law firm loses a portable hard drive containing the medical records of 161 cardiac stent patients who are suing a local cardiologist. The company explained that its employee was taking the information home on an unencrypted drive as a precaution against loss, but forgot it on the light rail. The law firm offered patients a one-year membership in an identity theft service in a letter mailed to patients two months after the breach, saying it was on “behalf of St. Joseph Medical Center,” the hospital at which the cardiologist formerly practiced. The law firm’s own site doesn’t mention the event at all as far as I can tell.

mrh_small Weird News Andy finds this story fascinating, especially the last line. Two pregnant women get into a fight with two other women in a Philadelphia hospital room, with one of the moms-to-be slashing the two non-pregnant ones with a knife. All were visiting “a male patient who is recovering from a gunshot wound.”

Sponsor Updates

10-13-2011 8-26-06 PM

  • Billian’s HealthDATA launches Better Business by 2012, a blog series for healthcare vendor sales and marketing teams. The company is also offering an October 19 Webinar on clinical informatics featuring Michele Burke RN, clinical transformation manager with North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, who will talk about EMR implementation.
  • CynergisTek CEO Mac McMillan will discuss security challenges and best practices for long-term care at this weekend’s 2011 Leading Age and IAHSA Global Aging Conference in DC.
  • Peer Consulting enters into a Provider Consulting Organization agreement with CapSite for its Hospital Purchasing Database solution.
  • Palestine Regional Medical Center (TX) selects ProVation Medical Software for its gastroenterology procedure documentation and coding.
  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital (LA) implement GetWellNetwork’s interactive patient care solution.
  • Allscripts deploys the IXIASOFT DITA CMS DITA to manage its documentation process.
  • Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, a new hospital opening in December in Wales, will feature the use of Vocera’s communication system.
  • The MedAssets Bundled Payment Solution earns PROMETHEUS Payment-ready certification from the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

A few weeks ago, I complained about having to fill out paper credentialing forms. Today I received my hospital’s proposed updates to the Medical Staff Bylaws. Under the section addressing allied health professionals (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), there are several revisions that pertain to electronic submission of data for paperless credentialing. Let’s hope it doesn’t only apply to them but to the physicians as well.

HIMSS has announced the lineup of keynote speakers for the 2012 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition. Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, leads off on Tuesday, followed by National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari on Thursday. Friday closes out with political strategist Donna Brazile, former White House press secretary Dana Perino, and Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner. I’m not that excited about HIMSS in general, but I do rather fancy Mr. Mostashari in his dapper bow tie.

Friday is the last day for the HIMSS 2011 Annual Award nominations. As an anonymous pseudo-celebrity, I’ll never qualify for one of these and I’m not sure how relevant they really are. Frankly, the HISsies are the only awards I really follow.

The Washington Post reports on data indicating that our bacterial friends actually help keep us healthy. Researchers cite both antibiotics and an obsession with cleanliness as causing potential imbalance in the microbial universe, contributing to asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions. I guess the “Three Second Rule” for edibles that hit the floor may not be as bad for the average college student as we once thought.

Inga beat me to the punch reporting on a recent study that concluded that high chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of stroke. Dark chocolate (my personal fave) is also thought to raise HDL (good cholesterol) as well as lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and blood pressure. Although an apple a day gets all the publicity, I’m going to start a “Truffle a Day” campaign.

10-13-2011 7-10-23 PM

Field correspondent Martini McBride reported in from the AHIMA opening reception in Salt Lake City. The QuadraMed booth featured both ICD-10 and ICD-9 cocktails. The word is that the ICD-10 version was much better and the light-up glasses were also fun. Let’s hope the real ICD-10 is also smooth and refreshing. I have readers promising to send updates from McKesson and other exciting get-togethers, so stay tuned.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. “Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, a new hospital opening in December in Wales, will feature the use of Vocera’s communication system.”

    Res Ipsa Loquitor

  2. Shippy in right on about Hospital IT shops: “…IT management teams that understaff projects and still don’t really understand what doctors do.” I’ve seen this from both the provider and vendor side. So, what is Cerner (or other vendors for that matter) doing to about this ubiquitous problem? Each vendor needs to have a vested interested in seeing (managing) their customer to success and not blaming the customer. Perhaps it is time to stop pointing out that the milk is spilled and start cleaning it up.

  3. Re: Microsoft influence
    Could be Epic developers. As previously discussed in HISTalk, Epic switched it’s roadmap from Java to .NET, requiring customers to install Microsoft servers.

  4. At AHIMA the ICD-10 cocktails were indeed refreshing, but when will vendors stop with the goofy magicians and juggling acts? QuadraMed’s booth was filled with creepy mime-types that scared a lot of people off. Most all other AHIMA booths were professional, yet fun. Lots of interesting new products. Nuance’s new Transcription imbedded with CDI components and upfront ICD-10 coding, was particularly innovative.

  5. While I realize that McKesson Provider Technologies is nothing more than a rounding error on the McK balance sheet, Hammergren should be embarrassed to take that kind of comp considering how ineffective their application suite is. Sure, the Medical and Cardiac imaging systems are good as is the Homecare application. But Horizon Clinicals? And the whitest elephant ever, Horizon ERM is really becoming irrelevant with each passing day. Good luck selling these assets. Maybe GE would buy them. Or have they learned their lesson, too?

  6. Epic has all consultants needing epic agree not to hire away employees from epic customers who were involved in an install within the last 12? Months. this is done less to penalize customer employees but instead to keep consultants from stealing from one customer’s team to work on the next customer’s install. before this clause was in place a few mn hospitals lost a lot of staff to a consultant moving to the next mn install. obviously not all install staff are needed after go live, but it impacted the affected customers ability to maintain a new system.

  7. Not sure why the ongoing indignation with Hammergren’s paycheck. Everyone who pays attention knows that a lot of that is stock option money. It’s high because he’s actually returned a huge increase in the share price, which is why the shareholders of a publicly traded F500 company are OK with it. What does Judy Faulkner make? Exactly. Nobody knows. No transparency. But you want to know who is guaranteed to be overpaid – any CIO of a hospital that threw away millions of dollars purchasing an Epic system. If you make more than $100K a year, you’re overpaid, Epic CIO. Instead of speculating on the quality of software you don’t own, why not dig deeper into the major fallacies of the software you do own? Sick and tired of Epic stooges thinking their junk must be good if everybody else likes it too. Here’s to athena, Quality Systems, Siemens, or anybody else who puts Epic on the scrapheap where it belongs.

  8. It would be out of character for Epic to allow its developers to accept any Microsoft Store deals. Epic has a firm policy against employees receiving freebies/discounts unless those benefits are offered to all employees.

    However if employees do take advantage of these discounts then absolutely this should be disclosed to Epic customers.

  9. Re: CHC – Cerner will likely win on the premise that Epic is not working the non-US market. Too bad, Epic has a superior product.

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Reader Comments

  • Sam Lawrence: Except in this case, coding = medical billing, not development. Though the same warning may be true...
  • BeenThere: Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fools gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outs...
  • JC: If there is not there can be. VistA has a reference lab interface that can create the manifests/labeling and such as we...
  • Tom Cornwell: Great stuff from Dr. Jayne as usual. One small typo, last sentence of second-to-last paragraph: should be 'who's' not 'w...
  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
  • Bob: There's no incentive for the provider to spend time doing a price comparison for the patient. Nor is it a good use of th...
  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...
  • Pat Wolfram: Such a refreshing article. Thanks -- there really can be a simpler version of an acute HIT implementation. But I do ...
  • Woodstock Generation: Bravo to HIStalk's Weekender recaps and other news/opinions. I read it first thing on Monday mornings..................
  • Veteran: #fakenews...

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